Covino gets two records as Fair Lawn wins division by Sean Farrell of The Record
PARAMUS – The numbers kept Joe Covino awake until 3 a.m.
Two records were on his mind. One last chance was all he had.
“I could barely sleep last night,” Covino said. “Then I was going through school with my headphones in. I kind of zoned out today.”
One of the oldest record books around is getting a new addition.
For 55 years, no one at Fair Lawn had scored 107 points in one spring.
Covino completed his junior year with 77 goals and 30 assists to set the school’s single-season record for points, and tying the most for goals.
Both of those milestones came in an 11-5 win over Paramus as the Cutters clinched a share of the Cullen title with Park Ridge/Emerson. Covino scored five goals and two assists in the final victory of one of Fair Lawn’s best seasons in recent history. Sophomores Eric Fioccola and Richard Dubarton had a pair of goals as well in the win.
“It’s just a great feeling,” Covino said. “It’s cool to know that it’s something that is not easily done. Every couple of years, 100 goals will come around. In two or three years, people will hit their 100th point. [It’s amazing] just to know that it’s a school record. I’m up there.”
Lacrosse wasn’t always the first choice for Covino.
When baseball didn’t look promising, the sport became a fall back in fourth grade.
He’s fallen in love with it ever since and hopes to play in college.
Covino can also wrestle with the best of North Jersey, as a 20-match winner and a district champion this winter.
But this is the season he lives for.
“I’m going to miss it,” Covino said. “I love spring ball and I love being with these kids. These are the kids I’ve grown up with.”
Covino has been one of many surprises for Fair Lawn this spring.
The Cutters looked to be rebuilding when the season began.
Only three starters were back from a team that went 9-10.
But the inexperience on offense didn’t matter after all. Four of the team’s top six goals scorers going into Wednesday were sophomores. And Covino more than doubled his scoring output from a year ago.
“He pushed himself in the offseason,” Fioccola said. “He’s always putting in those extra reps before school and after school.
“Whatever school picks him has a gift,” Fair Lawn coach Scott Leathem said.
Covino wasted little time on Wednesday in his record-setting performance. Just 24 seconds into the game, he gave Fair Lawn the lead on a wrap-around goal from the left side.
The points record came in the second quarter. The other one wasn’t as easy.
The nerves kicked in as he stood one goal short of the mark with just five minutes left. Doubt started to creep up as the clock continued to run down.
Then with just 27 second left, he launched a shot into the back of the net.
“He’s uses both hands and that helps anybody,” Leathem said. “If you take away one way and you can use the other, you’re blessed. You can’t be stopped. And he works hard.”
Covino ended his season unofficially leading North Jersey with goals.
On his way off the field, he high-fived a group of Fair Lawn fans waiting by the fence.
A historic season didn’t go unnoticed.
“It was a good year,” Covino said. “I wasn’t anticipating this year to be as big as it was. I came into the year telling Coach Leathem to push me. I needed 49 goals. My goal was to hit 100 [in my career]. To hit 77 is surreal. It’s great knowing that shooting in my back yard late at night and fixing my stick has finally paid off.”